Karen Heller of the Philadelphia Inquirer gives her view of the new DPW Administration and the policies of the Corbett Admin in general.
As for negotiations. Little of bargaining but plenty of presentations. It would be good to know how hard-core the Commonwealth is on our benefits and salary.
Who knew the road to ruin was trod with toe cleavage? Or that a glimpse of no stocking could prove so shocking?
DPW Head Gary Alexander
Harrisburg has long been a hotbed of temptation - for legislators fondling Other People's Money, sometimes in the middle of the night.
To maintain professional decorum, Secretary of Public Welfare Gary Alexander enforced a staff dress code: no skorts, flip-flops, tattered jeans, hats. For a meeting of his leadership team, Alexander insisted that men appear in suit and tie and that women wear "closed-toe shoes and nylons or tights."
Perhaps Alexander, an ordained deacon, wants to return his department, whose focus is supposed to be the poor, to the Mad Men era, except that might lead to midafternoon nips and nooky. His model of comportment seems more Ozzie and Harriet.
In the warmer months, most women under the age of 80 don't wear closed-toe shoes and nylons. Fashion editors, Michelle Obama, women perambulating the streets of Center City, nuns, all are now unqualified to be leaders at the DPW.
In announcing Gov. Corbett's top appointments, the press office made a point of listing how long each nominee had been married - good news, citizens! - almost all of them for decades. When being single, divorced, or gay is increasingly accepted, is this achievement relevant for public service?
Nylons and silver anniversaries are the window dressing of a troubling agenda. Our state governments are trying to will us back to a simpler, crueler time when rich men prosper with limited taxes and the poor can fend for themselves. Harrisburg and Trenton appear to be waging a battle over which can adopt the more regressive policies faster.
Pennsylvania House Republicans, seizing an opportunity after the revelation of Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia butcher shop and the state Department of Health's failure to properly inspect, this month approved legislation that would impose some of the nation's strictest, costliest operating regulations on Pennsylvania's 24 free-standing abortion clinics.
If the state Senate (where a far more sensible bill has been proposed) approves, the rules could force several sites to close, which appears to be the legislation's true intent.
"I thought conservatives were supposed to be against big government and intrusive, overburdening regulations," said Rep. Dan Frankel (D., Allegheny). "This bill would drive many women to seek risky, illegal abortions based on price - the same issue that drove desperate women to the Philadelphia house of horrors."
They're legislating us back to 1973.
House Republicans also proposed whacking a quarter of all AIDS program funding, and 9 to 11 percent of the DPW's child-care assistance, rape-crisis and domestic-violence services, food stamps, and breast cancer screening.
Fear not. The staff that helps fewer people in tough times will be properly attired. You will not be turned away by an employee in a skort.
We will be trained on the Corbett changes in CDU at the end of June to implement in July. Its more work to save money but have not seen it so I will withhold judgement